A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
There are many unexpected twists and turns in Ellis Paul's latest effort, TRANSLUCENT SOUL, a collection of songs that examine the dissolution of his marriage, among other themes.
In Take Me Down he plaintively declares, "I've never been so lonely as when I told you I was leaving." You can almost hear his footsteps on the stair that leads to the street as you are swept into the rhythms of the song. His vocals clearly convey the burden of loss in many of the tracks without becoming overwrought.
It is a haunting assembling of emotion embedded in a lush production by Jerry Marotta, who also plays various instruments throughout.
Track 6, Did I Ever Know You, shines with Paul's beautiful acoustic guitar and the majestic bass of Tony Levin, known to many through the music of Peter Gabriel. The song is a curious mix of folk and jazz, but in the end, is pure soul.
The title track, Translucent Soul, is a joyful blend of melody and voice which provides an interesting look at the racial colorblindness of true friendship.
The lovely Dar Williams appears as background vocalist in Angel in Manhattan, a song that examines faith and the workings of unexpected grace. And everybody knows that angels are welcome companions while riding in cabs in New York City.
Ellis Paul succeeds in granting his listeners a furtive look into an aching heart. His abilities as a poet and his excellent musicianship are well-balanced, and this album will certainly increase his already considerable fan base.
There's a very special surprise on TRANSLUCENT SOUL, so stick around while they fold up the chairs.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz